Mr. Rhythm children’s musical plays result from the combined talents of composers, educators and designers.
Jean Clark Laube was a pioneer in the development of early childhood education, owning and operating one of the first preschools in Connecticut. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Laube was a forward thinker in tailoring classroom activities to fit each child’s needs, creating an environment that allowed every child to thrive with crafts, stories, playtime, dance, foreign language and reading readiness.
Her popular Parents’ Day performances brought musical theatre fun and education to preschool. Education-based material was unavailable then, so Laube created scripts and music for numerous plays. Often these were centered around a seasonal theme, event, or slice of history. This unique blend of activity, music, and crafts helped teach preschoolers in a fun, engaging way.
Since Laube’s creation of the plays, they have been updated and enhanced to serve children on an even broader scope by her daughter, Kay Laube Benson. Benson continued Laube’s vision to make these children’s musical plays available to teachers and children around the world. With a BFA, Photography degree from Northern Michigan University, Benson’s creative activities also include 20 years of commercial photography in Chicago and around the U.S.
Growing up in a home filled with music, Kay understood her mother’s passion. “The best gift my mother gave me was sharing the positive and enriching environment these musical journeys create,” says Benson. That gift from Laube has proven to benefit and delight preschool classrooms in the U.S. and other countries throughout the years.
The music of Mr. Rhythm children’s musical plays was directed and recorded by Emmy award-winning composer Gary Fry. He wrote new songs that were in keeping with the original music and to further enhance the musicals. From arranging and composing to production and direction, Fry’s industry expertise is widely recognized. He has worked with the Chicago and Dallas Symphony Orchestras and spent 20 years in commercial music production in radio and television for some of the nation’s largest companies. He has composed, arranged and produced albums for Kid Rhino and Warner Kids, and for TV with Cartoon Network’s Baby Looney Tunes. Fry’s passion for working with young people and children’s music shows through the composition, while respecting the limitations of preschool singers.
Claire M. Halloran, MA, CCC-SLP developed classroom-friendly adaptations that honor the unique developmental profiles of special needs children to foster their full participation in the Mr. Rhythm classroom programs. Halloran is a speech-language pathologist who has worked with young children and their families for 25 years in various settings: preschool, homeschool, Head Start, daycare, and clinics. She has a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from George Washington University and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Infant Mental Health from The Erikson Institute.